LATEST: Egypt — 4 Killed in Nile Valley, Clashes at Muslim Brotherhood HQ in Cairo
Egyptians are preparing for the largest protests since the fall of the Mubarak regime in February 2011, with the opposition moving to bring out millions of people on the first anniversary of President Morsi’s inauguration.
The opposition Tamarod campaign has been announcing the protest throughout June, claiming to have collected 22 million signatures — compared to 26 million people who voted last year in Morsi’s victory. The movement is hoping to tap into public concern over Egypt’s declining economy, as well as resistance to the President’s political decrees and expansion of his powers.
In the past 10 days, however, the shows of strength have come from the Government’s supporters, with the Muslim Brotherhood — the movement to which Morsi is affiliated — and its Freedom and Justice Party organising rallies of hundreds of thousands of people in Cairo. There have been clashes with anti-Morsi groups, with at least two people killed and the burning of Brotherhood offices in several locations across Egypt.
On Saturday, thousands of opposition protesters set up tents in Tahrir Square, the focal point of the 2011 uprising, while Government backers continued a sit-in in front of the mosque in Nasr City where they rallied on Friday.
(Featured Photo: Opposition rally in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday — Tara Todras-Whitehill/The New York Times
Four people have been killed in fighting in Beni Suef and Assiut in the Nile Valley.
Clashes in Assiut started when an anti-Morsi demonstration of several thousand people passed by the office of the the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party. FJP youth, who were forming a human shield to protect the office, thought protesters were attacking them, so they fired birdshot and live rounds.
Army and police were then deployed at the governorate headquarters and at the Freedom and Justice Party headquarters, located 100 meters apart. Police fired tear gas in front of the FJP headquarters.
In Beni Suef, an anti-Government protest of about 1000 people was reportedly fired upon. In ensuing fighting, a member of the Islamist Building and Development Party was killed.
In Cairo, the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters in Cairo has been the scene of fighting, although opposition protests in Tahrir Square and in front of the Presidential Palace Ittihadiya and the pro-Morsi demonstration at the Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque have been relatively peaceful.
The Brotherhood offices in the Mokattam district of the capital were attacked by protesters throwing Molotov cocktails. Those inside and outside the building then fought, perhaps using birdshot and live ammunition. A number of injuries are reported, but are unconfirmed so far.
The empty offices of the Freedom and Justice Party in Beni Sueif were torched. Opposition demonstrators have occupied government buildings in Damietta in the north of Egypt.
Egyptians in New York City are also protesting against President Morsy — this photograph shows protesters outside the UN holding red cards demanding Morsy step down:
Holding red cards4 the illegitimate president at the United Nations with 2500 passionate Egyptians of all backgrounds pic.twitter.com/oRZ4n14kIf
— Amr 30 Jun:end MB (@Cairo67Unedited) June 30, 2013
Egyptian daily Al Masry Al Youm reports that thousands of protesters have gathered in front of the El Kobba Palace in Cairo, where they are shouting slogans against President Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood, including “Leave”. The protesters have vowed to continue their sit-in in front of the palace until there is a vote of no confidence against the President and a call for early elections.
Al Masry Al Youm also reports comments from Mahmoud Al Badr, the spokesman for the Tamarod (Rebellion) movement, set up last month to collect signatures to withdraw confidence from Morsy. Al Badr praised Sunday’s protests as “timeless”, and noting that “the Egyptian people came out in their millions, in all the provinces, in Tahrir Square, in front of the palace.
Meanwhile Egypt Independent, the English version of Al Masry Al Youm, provides a timeline (via AFP) of key events in the year since Morsy was inaugurated as President.
View of Tahrir Square from Cairo Tower:
— Egyptocracy (@Egyptocracy) June 30, 2013
ONTv has a live feed of protests at Tahrir Square:
— المصري اليوم (@AlMasryAlYoum) June 30, 2013
Images from protests in Alexandria this afternoon.
Priyanka Motaparthy shares this image of a flyer handed out today in Alexandria, which reads “With Islam Against The Brotherhood”:
— Priyanka Motaparthy (@priyanica) June 30, 2013
Egypt Independent have several images from Alexandria on their Facebook page, including this of a woman holding a photograph of Morsy, who has been crossed out.
Twitter user @cairocitylimits tweeted this photograph of protesters on a bulldozer that they brought along with them to the march:
— sherief gaber (@cairocitylimits) June 30, 2013
Cairo-based reporter Bel Trew shares these images of Tahrir Square during prayers this afternoon:
— Bel Trew – بل ترو (@Beltrew) June 30, 2013
— Bel Trew – بل ترو (@Beltrew) June 30, 2013
The Economic Misdemeanors Court has acquitted Mubarak-era steel magnate Ahmed Ezz of manipulation of the steel industry.
Ezz, who was a leader of former President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, is being retried on charges of obtaining free licenses for his steel factories. He was sentenced in March to 37 years on charges of illegally obtaining stocks at the state-owned Dekheila Steel company.
The Muslim Brotherhood is emphasizing the peaceful nature of both pro-Government and opposition rallies in Cairo:
— Ikhwanweb (@Ikhwanweb) June 30, 2013
Looks like the walls put up by security forces to block access by protesters to the Presidential Palace may not be that effective:
ppl already strolling atop makeshift walls outside the palace. some1's also lined it w a crazy-long anti-MB banner pic.twitter.com/R3GcEwaxBp
— Patrick Kingsley (@PatrickKingsley) June 30, 2013
شباب من الاخوان يؤمنون مداخل اعتصام رابعة العدوية ويهتفون الله أكبر قوة عزيمة إيمان رجالة مرسي في الميدان pic.twitter.com/3s1npwGuWI
— Samir Omar (@SamirOmarSky) June 30, 2013
In Cairo, Government supporters are gathering in Nasr City, while the main opposition rally is growing in Tahrir Square.
An image from the pro-Government protest:
Dozens now chanting "legitimacy" is a red line pic.twitter.com/D3A7XpHxDP
— Nadine Marroushi (@nadinemarroushi) June 30, 2013
And in Tahrir Square:
— Ben Allen (@Benfrancisallen) June 30, 2013
Anti-Government protesters are organising near President Morsi’s family home in Sharqiya in the Nile Delta, as well as around Governorate headquarters and in Orabi Square.
In Alexandria, hundreds of protesters are arriving at the Al-Qaed Ibrahim Mosque, chanting “Leave! Leave!”
Hundreds of anti-Morsi protesters in Ashmoun in the Nile Delta’s Menoufiya Governorate have cut off the Cairo-Alexandria agricultural road.
Protesters have also closed off the Governorate’s administration complex and surrounded seven city council buildings with chains and signs reading “Closed by order of the people”.
Nour the Intern posts a lively article just ahead of Sunday’s protests in Cairo:
For days now, people have been worriedly reminding each other to park in their garage on the 30th and take the day off from work for safety. Conversely, a few Morsi supporters have been advising people to do the opposite, hoping that if society as a whole goes about its day, then the protesters may mistake it for an ordinary day and forget to protest.
Personally, I was unfazed by June 30, until my usually aloof brother announced that he was going buy emergency food supplies. Last time he did that was on the night of Jan 28, 2011, the Friday of Wrath, and he came back, two hours and a half later, with the exact same purchase he got two years ago: two boxes of strawberry Swiss Rolls and a roll of aluminum foil.
The first box of the Swiss Rolls is for everyone to eat “at a reasonable pace” due to the dire circumstances, and the foil is for him to use its cardboard tube, his preferred choice of weaponry in case the neighborhood forms popular committees and he finds himself forced to join them again. And to protect the second box of Swiss Rolls from us.
Palestinian officials say US Secretary of State John Kerry made no major advance on a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations in talks on Sunday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
“There is some progress but we can’t say there’s a breakthrough,” Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat was quoted as saying.
Rights Group Calls On EU To Slam Saudi Arabia After Seven Convicted For “Inciting Protests” On Facebook
New York-based human rights group Human Rights Watch on Sunday urged the European Union’s High Representative Catherine Ashton to condemn condemn Saudi Arabia after it sentenced seven activists to prison time last week for inciting protests using Facebook.
Saudi Arabia’s Specialised Criminal Court sentenced the men, all from the Gulf State’s Eastern Province — home to a large Shia population — to prison terms ranging from five to ten years. The court also issued travel bans. According to HRW, the authorities did not accuse the men of directly participating in protests, and the court did not investigate allegations that intelligence officers tortured the seven into signing confessions.
“Sending people off to years in prison for peaceful Facebook posts sends a strong message that there’s no safe way to speak out in Saudi Arabia, even on online social networks,” Joe Stork, HRW’s deputy Middle East director said in a statement.